May 31, 2022
The Lost Dogs of War in Ukraine | Dog Edition #55

Since Russia has invaded Ukraine, millions of people have been displaced. Among them are pet owners faced with a horrific dilemma: how to save their pets?


On February 24th of this year, Russia invaded Ukraine. The United Nations swiftly predicted the war would create the worst refugee crisis in Europe since WWII, and they were proven correct.

Millions of people have been displaced, and among them are pet owners faced with a horrific dilemma: what to do with their animals? Bring them along on an uncertain journey? Leave them behind?

Many didn’t have a choice. Photos from border crossings around Ukraine show many brought their dogs with them. But then what happened?

On today’s show, we look at the journey these people and their pets made as the war unfolded. We speak with some of the people who helped along the way.

Among the many challenges faced by refugees, rabies vaccinations proved to be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. Without proof of current rabies vaccination, dogs had to be left behind at the border.

For others, fleeing with their pets simply wasn’t an option. We also hear about those who stayed behind, and struggled to care for beloved pets in a war zone.

Cover Art: The image used in this episode’s cover art was created by Ukranian artist Oleksandr Miroshnychenko. Please visit their Etsy page to offer support: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LuckyArtStudioUA?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=29816966

About Dr. Marty Becker

Dr. Becker practices in Ohio and is the founder of Fear Free, an organization that provides education to veterinarians and pet owners to look after a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing. He traveled to Ukraine to offer veterinary services to refugees.

About Elisa Dumitrescu

Dumitrescu runs the shelter Saved by the Vet in Solca, Romania, which is about 40 minutes from Ukraine’s border. What started as a blueberry farm with her husband, has become a haven for homeless pets. Recently, she has been helping refugees fleeing Ukraine with their pets.

Instagram: @dogood_romania

About Dr. Jon Geller

Dr. Geller is a veterinarian and the founder and medical director of the Street Dog Coalition. This Colorado-based organization provides free care to the pets of people experiencing homelessness. He traveled to Ukraine to offer veterinary services to refugees. 

His organization will be continuing work at the border for the foreseeable future, and support can be offered on their website at: https://www.thestreetdogcoalition.org/operation-ukraine 

About Dr. Elena Kostiuk

Dr. Kostiuk is the chief of cardiology at the ZOOLUX Vet Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine. When the war started, she moved in to her clinic full time and provided care to the animals of those who stayed in the city.

Links to Support Ukrainian Dogs

World Vets (for those within the U.S.): https://secure.givelively.org/donate/world-vets/support-for-pets-from-ukraine

World Vets (for those outside the U.S.): https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=worldvets&id=15

Saved by the Vet’s list for Ukrainian support efforts: https://linktr.ee/dogood_romania

Association of Pets and people understanding: https://appu.net.ua/charity-payment/en

The following link is to help the Ukrainian army: https://bank.gov.ua/en/news/all/natsionalniy-bank-vidkriv-spetsrahunok-dlya-zboru-koshtiv-na-potrebi-armiyi

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